My New Love is Warm but Not Very Fuzzy

Actually, it’s not fuzzy at all. And that’s probably a good thing, since it’s a slow cooker (crock-pot). The fuzzy things live in the back of the refrigerator.

Until recently, I was very spoiled. My husband was working part-time (through no fault of his own – the economy still stinks here) and did the cooking and grocery shopping. Now he has a full-time job with regular hours, the same as I do.

While he is still interested in the shopping, there had been a significant decrease in the joy of cooking for quite some time. We seemed to be eating a lot of macaroni & cheese and tacos (not at the same time). Fairly regularly, we would get fish he caught (very yummy), burgers (not so much, I really don’t like beef), or pork chops. He also made soup (it always tasted really good, but sometimes I couldn’t quite identify all the ingredients).

I felt a sense of impending doom with the arrival of the new job. We might be the first family to starve because the man had gotten a job. Our 17-year-old son was not amused.

So I decided it was my turn. I am a very good baker. I just finished making a cheesecake for tomorrow. (My husband makes the pumpkin pie. I detest pumpkin pie. Besides, who eats vegetables/gourds for dessert?) We generally have home-made cookies or brownies for dessert and cakes for special occasions.

However, I am not allowed to touch beef (and I am not particularly interested in cooking hunks of other types of meat). I like beef well-done. Apparently that is like desecrating a work of art, so I don’t touch it. I think my husband got the idea on one of our earliest dates when I tried to make hamburgers. I guess you need to flatten them so they’re not raw in the middle and crispy on the outside.

Oddly enough, the one time I am allowed to cook beef is the standing rib roast on Christmas. It’s been a family tradition for generations, along with Yorkshire Pudding (guess where my family comes from). I don’t think it’s any comment on my ability to cook beef though. I set the temperature, season the roast, and let it cook until it no longer moos. The male members of the family are happy, and I don’t eat it.

I really couldn’t see myself coming home every night and making dinner. Generally, I would rather take a nap. So I looked around and discovered the slow cooker that has been sitting in the corner of our kitchen since my brother-in-law gave it to us about ten years ago.

It seems that slow cooker is the high-end name for a crock-pot. I would guess that’s because of people like me who put crock-pots in the same category as fondue pots. They have their place, but not in my kitchen. Most of what I have seen come out of them are kielbasa & sauerkraut, variations on baked beans, and chili/soups. All fine foods, but not the perfect long-term menu. The other option, as my son said, was to put in a hunk of meat and some liquid.

However, once again I went to the Internet (the decent cookbooks were in the $25 range, and I wasn’t sure my family would even like me cooking with it). Lo and behold, there are thousands of recipes out there. There are an alarming number of recipes for pork loins; pigs may want to band together for protection.

Today I made tortellini. There was a recipe for lasagna, but I make that from scratch and wasn’t sure I was ready to risk my reputation. However, the tortellini was very good. Crock-pots are excellent for slow-cooking pasta sauce. I have also made chicken and dumplings. Soups and chili were successes. My attempt at a hunk of meat was a ham cooked in Vernor’s (the only real ginger ale), with potatoes and onions. I made a beef stew-sort of thing (well-done beef is acceptable in stew).

So, I think we may be a match made in heaven. There’s very little work involved (although I do seem to be chopping a lot of onions); and with spices, the dreaded blands have been been avoided to this point. Of course, the test in any relationship is the holidays. So we’ll see what it gives me for Christmas. Or if it sulks when I yell at it.

I wonder if it cooks hamburgers.

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10 thoughts on “My New Love is Warm but Not Very Fuzzy

  1. It’s weird how little we use our slow cooker. I think I’m just a little afraid of it. Like, if it’s slow, isn’t it just going to breed pathogens? I like my bacteria fast!

  2. My wife carefully constructed her minestrone soup in the crock pot and left for me one instruction: Add the macaroni at said-time. So I was so proud of myself as I poured in the box of macaroni, forgetting entirely that I was supposed to put in, oh, a quarter of the box at most. The pasta didn’t cook, the whole crock pot of soup ruined. So we fished out the bits of steak, threw them in pot with a can of Pregresso beef soup that I pulled out of the cupboard, and saved the supper. I will listen more carefully from here on, I promise. I do notice that the crock pot has not been pulled out since, though.

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